Little Flower Orphanage and Boarding, Munnar

We have been helping this project for many years and give an annual contribution to the girls food, medical care, schooling - uniforms, fees, books and stationary, other clothing, firewood for cooking and heating water for washing (it was -2 degrees when I was there once!) plus soap, toothpaste etc. Prices are high as Munnar is 5000ft above sea level (hence the cold) and the cost of transportation up the mountains increases all prices, as does it being a tourist area.


 
"Loving greetings from Holy Cross Sisters, Munnar. We come to express our gratitude towards you for your generosity and great help that you have rendered for our children in the boarding.  Our place Munnar is placed in southern part of India. It is a hill area. Tata Company owns the tea plantation and the people here are coolie workers in that company. There are 100 children in our boarding. It is very pathetic to listen to some of their family history. Many are from broken families. Some of their parents are really struggling for their livelihood. Such children are here with us.  The money that you sent for us (in 2003) was a great help to buy certain things for our boarding. They are - benches and desks to sit and study, solar lanterns, some vessels, dishes, food, materials, blankets and buckets etc. These are very useful and needed things for our children.  Once again thanking you for your kindness and generosity.



"With grateful heart we come to thank you for your thoughtfulness and concern over our Boarders. As you wish, we shall spend the full amount (2004) for the needs of the children, such as food, uniform, notebooks, soap, coir matting for the bedroom, firewood, cooking vessels, medical care etc.



2005 - nearly £600 was sent as a contribution towards having the bridge replaced (photo  - temporary footbridge put up whilst bridge being built.)  The original bridge and road to the campus, were washed away in a mud slide.  All of the surrounding mountainside are used for the cultivation of tea, so trees have been removed whose roots used to secure the top soil.   



Also in 2005, we gave £1282.00 for general use and this was spent on:  "A television 'for the boarders to keep in touch with the current phenomenon and other educational purposes.'  A geyser facility for hot water, furniture (benches and desks for their studies) stationery and bedding mats, and what is left to be put to use for medicines, uniforms etc."



2006  -  £1160.00 sent to Sr Annie. We trust her to use this money for whatever is needed most, and always receive letters and photos showing how the money was used.  Out of interest, you can see the daily routine of the girls - and they go to school on Saturdays as well!
  

2007 - £1000.00 sent.   Two letters received - one beautifully decorated one from the girls and one from Sr. Annie-Chacko, who is in charge of the boarding. 

 "Here we come to you from the hills of Munnar, the paradise of God's own country with warm greetings, love, cheer and best wishes. We hope and pray that you keep fine by the grace of God.  "Our rainly season is continuing without any break from the middle of May. We are happy to inform you that the bridge that was broken (washed away in floods) has been built anew. Natural calamities are regular here.  This June during the heavy rain and storm the roof of our School had flown away.  Thank God we are safe. Within a week we got it repaired and we continued the school.  We have so many dams here. All of them were filled with water, so people are frightened. Last week one of the main dam's water pen pipe was broken and so many lost their lives in the flood."

The excellent news is that a Canadian charity paid for new hostel building - the old collection of buildings were quite dangerous and the roofs leaked (they have months of rain in this area,) leaving the walls and floors covered in moss and slime, so very damp and unhealthy for the girls, as the photos below show.



We want to continue to pay an annual amount towards their running costs. They can now accommodate up to 200 girls but in 2009, only two of them paid the full fees of 8000r/year (£114.29.) Some pay partial fees but many cannot afford to pay anything. However, all girls are treated equally. So the cost comes down to £2.19 per girl per week (which includes 21 meals!) or £9.52 per month.
  
2008 - £583.33 sent, not as much as we had hoped for, but we sent extra at the beginning of 2009, with a total of £1620.00 going out in 2009.

We receive lots of letters and cards from Munnar - both from the Sisters and the Girls in the boarding.  This one arrived recently - signed by all of the girls!



Thanks also to Oundle Inner Wheel, Christ the King Church Kettering, Barton Seagrave Church Women's Fellowship, St. Andrew's Church Guild Corby, Ashby St. Ledgers Church, Kettering Lady Lions and Corby Inner Wheel, for helping this project!

2010 - £2285.00! sent out.  Which is a huge amount, but this project remains the hardest for us to raise funds for - boys in schools here naturally don't want to support an all-girls project. 

2011 visit:-  Now the new boarding building is complete and in use and I just could not believe how fantastic it is! Light, airy, clean and lots of room.  They do need a few 'finishing touches' - at the moment, water is heated is great big pots over fires in a small shed next to the new building. There is also an incinerator for the girls’ sanitary wear. Already the new building is stained by the smoke from the shed.  The smoke also goes into the building as there is no glass in the windows on that side. They want to build a new shed with a tall chimney to take the smoke over the top of the three-storey building.  (See below for photo of completed building!)  Another need is for solar lighting. The electricity supply is very sporadic so they would like to install solar lights on the two stairways, one in each of the two bedrooms and one in the refectory and kitchen.
 
They have gardens here and so grow most of their own vegetables. As the climate is similar to that in the UK, vegetables include potatoes, peas, beans, carrots, onions, cabbages and beetroot. The fees are now 900 rupees per month which is about £15.00. So we pay for the true orphans who pay nothing and top up the fees from relations who pay a little.  Any contribution towards this cost would be VERY gratefully received!

Below - the campus. The new boarding is the white triangular roof in the centre of the photo.



It is such a joyful place here, although some of the girls’ backgrounds are quite awful.  One of the Sisters is a trained counsellor and the girls receive counselling when they arrive and for as long as they need it. They come here as they have been orphaned or abandoned, or have been rescued from a cruel situation. Yet you would never imagine that they have ever had any problems, they are all so happy. They have a TV and watch the national and international news each evening plus important events and occasionally educational programmes. Thus they are more 'worldly’ than most. Best of all, they have constant encouragement and help - they all always pass their important examinations. India is very much a man’s world, but these girls, with such a good education have the best of starts in life, even though they come from the most disadvantaged.

Below:- some of the girls with Christmas cards sent by girls at Southfields School.



Below: Julie Auntie with a girl called Hilda, who is now known as 'little Julie'. The girls performed a show for me and when Hilda walked in, everyone burst out laughing as it was obvious who she was supposed to be - I always wear purple!



June 2011 - photo received of all the girls in their new school uniforms.


November 2011 - The blessing of the new boiler house, paid for by Children United! 



and a huge THANK YOU to the girls at Northampton High School for raising £448.69 which will help to feed the girls in 2012.

£2192.77 was sent out in 2011, but this included money 'owed' from the year before.  Only £921.72 was sent out in 2012, so once again we 'owe' Munnar a substantial amount.  Please visit our other website  www.whatwehadtoeattoday.btck.co.uk  to see latest photos of Munnar, taken in October / November 2012.

2013 - We sent out £2000 in April which was money owed from 2012, plus a bit extra.  In December we gave them £1500.00.  We look forward to hearing from Sr Annie Chacko who will tell us in great detail how every rupee has been / will be spent.  At the moment, my friend Topsy is staying at Munnar and so we look forward to hearing from her as well.  We would also like to thank the Cherdel family for visiting and taking lots of stationery for the girls.

2014 - £2500.00 was sent out, thanks to June and Jenny who have been giving a monthly amount to help the girls for a very long time!  Thanks also to Alex Riley's dance group, Northampton High School and  Corby Inner Wheel.

2015 - £1744.00 given, thanks to June and Jenny (again!) Southfield School Kettering, Twizzlekicks dance group, Laura Auntie and her friends and Ely Ladies.

2016 - £2050.00 given.  Sr Annie Chacko retired this year - she had been at Munnar for longer than anyone could remember!  We have assured her that our support for her project will continue.  Thank you to June, Jenny and Laura Auntie and her friends, as always.      






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